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Forty years later, return to Ghana is bittersweet
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I thanked him for his invitations, but told him I was not sure I would be able to do either one.an estimable fellow
Later, Bobbo and I drove into the town of Denu. The only things I recognized from long ago were the post office and the sea.
In the late 1960s, the streets of Denu and the shelves of its few shops were mostly empty. Now there are many more shops, with shelves filled with goods all the way to the ceilings.
The town today is crowded with taxis, cars and people.
Vehicles now drive on the right. They drove on the left when I lived there.
Houses have replaced the coconut groves by the sea where I once photographed fishermen. I was happy, however, to see the big fishing canoes still on the beach, gleaming with fresh paint and gaudier than ever.
Bobbo has 11 sons and six daughters by four wives. Several of his children and one of his brothers work for him. "It's a big family, but a very happy family," he said.
I was astounded and proud to learn that my name is part of it. Bobbo's nephew in Accra, a 30-year-old welder, is named Frank Delano Ahiagble in my honor. I've never met him, but with a name like that he must be an estimable fellow.
Early on the morning of my last day in Ghana, Bobbo drove me to a nearby village. Along the way, he picked up a couple of his friends.
We all ended up at a bar about 7 a.m. Bobbo and his friends ordered big bottles of beer. It was probably impolite under the circumstances, but I drank a Coke.
After this breakfast, Bobbo led me through the town where his youngest children, 14-month-old twins, live with their mother. Bobbo wanted me to take his picture with the babies.
Their mother handed them to Bobbo without a word or a smile. Bobbo smiled only at the children.
"I have so many problems with my marriages, I should have remained a bachelor," he said. I told him that I have occasionally thought the same thing myself.A final farewell
Compared with his whoops of welcome the day before, our goodbye later that day was short on words.
He said he hoped to travel again to America, but he wasn't sure when. I told him I looked forward to seeing him in the States.
I didn't want or even need to say that I'd probably never return to Ghana. He knew.
The car was packed. The driver was ready to leave for the three-hour drive to the airport in Accra.
Bobbo and I hugged goodbye.
"Mijo," he said, for "see you later."
Something was going on in my throat.
"Mijo" was all I could reply.Frank Delano: 804/333-3834